Alcohol & Serotonin

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Serotonin is a brain chemical responsible for communication between different areas of the brain. Drinking alcohol affects serotonin levels in the brain. The impact alcohol has on serotonin is variable to the amount of alcohol consumed.

Alcohol Consumption

  • Drinking alcohol in moderation (at most two drinks a day for a male and one drink for a female) can actually provide health benefits. Drinking anymore is considered drinking in excess. Excess drinking can lead to alcohol addiction (person becomes dependent on alcohol in everyday life).

Role of Serotonin

  • Serotonin affects tasks like learning, memory, and mood. High serotonin levels helps to make a person feel good.

The Connection

  • An excess amount of alcohol interferes with the body's production of amino acid tryptophan. Amino acid tryptophan is required for the production of serotonin.

Depression

  • A lack of serotonin is associated with depression. However, due to the inability to study the living brain no declaration can be made if the low levels of serotonin cause depression or if the depression causes the lower levels of serotonin.

Considerations

  • Dr. David M. Lovinger of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine has linked low levels of serotonin to the development of alcohol addiction.

References

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